Who wants skin care saturated with pesticides all over their body?

Did you know that your skin care products can claim to contain natural ingredients and yet still contain harmful chemicals? These harmful ingredients range from:

  1.   PPO (propylene oxide), a suspected carcinogen
  2.   Potent steroids
  3.   Parabens, known hormone disruptors

Image via and jetsandzeppelins, Flickr Creative Commons

PureCare Herbal Cream is a scary but important example; they claim their product is a steroid-free, “all-natural” skin cream for babies. However, Health Canada findings indicate the product contains a highly-potent prescription steroid called clobetasol propionate. Parents were liberally applying this cream on their babies and were shocked to discover they had been applying a steroid so potent that, when used over time, can have harmful effects even on adults!

This leads us to the importance of certification and use of organic ingredients. To avoid misleading products like PureCare, choose products that have certification. A business like Satya Organic Eczema Balm is committed to using only certified organic ingredients. For example, one of the five ingredients is almond oil. Did you know that all non-organic almonds are now sprayed with the chemical pesticide PPO (propylene oxide), which is a suspected carcinogen? In fact, most countries, including the EU, ban imported nuts treated with PPO. The problem with non-certified products is that a company can claim an ingredient like almonds are natural, and yet they contain PPO. Who wants almond oil saturated with pesticides all over their body?

Health Canada requires that ingredients on products are listed but there is no organized body enforcing the truth of what companies are claiming. PureCare Herbal Cream, for example, listed a few “natural” ingredients while omitting the steroid ingredient. They were able to sell their product containing steroids AND market to  babies because there is no certifying body responsible to ensure that their claim is true.

So where does this leave the conscientious consumer who wants to avoid skin care containing synthetic chemicals?

  • Look for certifications such as USDA organic certifications.
  • Talk to people educated in the area of natural skin care.
  • Start a conversation with staff at your local holistic medicine or organic-leaning food store; they often know which products offer integrity as well as natural ingredients.
  • Carry this Dirty Dozen list with you when making purchase decisions. (Thanks to David Suzuki’s Queen of Green)
  • Download the Think Dirty App for skin care products.
  • Educate yourself on the “green” buy outs of your favorite natural products  from mega-corporations.

    Ultimately USDA organic certification can provide the consumer with two important comforts: 1. Pesticide-free natural ingredients; and 2. Assurance that their product is what it claims.

    Good luck out there! 




    Pesticide image via  jetsandzeppelins, Flickr Creative Commons


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